Over at Reason, J.D. Tuccille posted a letter from small business owner, Michael Ortner, to his 23 employees describing all the available options for health insurance in the coming year. It turns out that it’s just like voting because it’s a choice between multiple evils.
What makes the article worth reading is that it presents a very concise list of what employers can offer their employees along with a short history of how the U.S. got to where it is in dictating healthcare as an employee benefit. What I found most interesting was the list of four defects in the current healthcare laws because it demonstrates so conclusively that the health care laws do not serve the public they purport to serve.
1) Irrespective of much we decide to spend, we lack freedom in choosing the specific plan that is right for us when we receive it as a benefit from our employer.
2) If we decide to buy health insurance directly (10% of Americans do), we are discriminated against since we do not receive the same treatment from the IRS. We have to use post tax dollars to purchase it. This is completely unjust and should be the first thing on an political leader’s agenda when it comes to solving the healthcare problem. Either everyone should pay taxes on them or noone should.
3) When we develop a treatable medical condition, we are out of luck if we leave our employer since our insurance was tied to that employer and we now have a pre-existing condition.
4) The worst of all…because most of us receive our heathcare as a benefit, we are completely separated from any real knowledge of our actual expenses. This is the major reason why our healthcare expenses are now through the roof.
This is like the income tax code in the sense that it is so abusive of most ordinary taxpayers that it’s virtually impossible for a reasonable person to think that the government has any respect at all for them at all. The reason tax laws have become so incomprehensible is that they are a vehicle for politicians to dispense favors to special interests at the expense of ordinary citizens. In other words, tax law is the face of government corruption and the very same thing is true for healthcare law. The real beneficiaries are the healthcare and insurance industries while the ordinary citizen is saddled with a narrow one-size-fits all range of options designed by bureaucrats in partnership with those beneficiaries.
What is really astonishing is how young people, the healthiest segment of society, sit idly by as the government increasingly burdens them with subsidizing healthcare for those who are less healthy. These are, of course, the people who are lower on the income ladder, but who also face the costs of starting a family, buying a home, and paying off their college loans.
For example, there is no way most 23 year old single people should be spending $500/month on health insurance. That’s a bad deal for most 23 years olds and if given the choice most should take at least half of that in cash and save it/invest it. 23 year olds are already getting stuck with higher premiums on auto insurance since they are higher risk drivers; by the same principle, they should be paying much lower premiums since they are generally less at risk health-wise.
The single short-coming people have in their political beliefs has less to do with whether they lean left or right but rather their stunning lack of skepticism about the supposition that the government has their best interests at heart. World history is the history of government officials serving their own interests to the detriment of their citizens.